Peter Jackson has shown that there is profit to be found in bringing the work of J R R Tolkien to the big screen. And now Fox Searchlight is hoping that that will apply to the author himself. The studio is developing a biopic, titled simply Tolkien, of the English writer’s life and how he came to create Middle Earth, the most popular and influential fantasy settings in all of literature.
Irish filmmaker David Gleeson, a self-professed “a Tolkien superfan and scholar of sorts” is the motivator behind the project, according to the LA Times.
Gleeson, who wrote and directed the indie films Cowboys & Angels and The Front Line, is working on a screenplay that will center mainly on Tolkien’s experiences in World War I and his early career as a professor at Pembroke College, exploring how the author’s writing was shaped by his real life.
This is not the first attempt to get the author’s life portrayed in film. A few years back there was a project called Mirkwood which was to have shown Tolkien’s experience as a codebreaker during World War Two. It has apparently died in development, supposedly after running into objections from the notoriously difficult Tolkien estate. It is not clear if the estate will be cooperating or not with this new film, though that will undoubtedly become more apparent as things move forward.